Changes in social functioning following cognitive-behavioral therapy for youth with anxiety disorders
Jacob, Marni Leigh
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The current study investigated changes in social functioning following cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and emotion-focused CBT (ECBT) for 40 youth with anxiety disorders. Participants ranged in age from 7-12 and had a principal diagnosis of either Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Social Phobia (SoP), or Separation Anxiety Disorder (SAD). Analyses compared youth’s social and emotional functioning from pre to post treatment and examined whether pre-post changes in emotion regulation mediated improvements in social functioning. Results indicated that treatment was associated with improvements in social and emotional functioning, yet no differences were found between treatments. Additionally, there was no evidence that emotion regulation mediated the changes in social functioning from pre to post treatment. This research contributes to our understanding of the interplay of social and emotional variables in youth with anxiety disorders. Additionally, this research informs treatment by providing information that current empirically-based treatments for anxiety (e.g., CBT, ECBT) improve specific types of social functioning.